Saturday, February 13, 2021
Alto saxophonist, composer and producer Logan Richardson’s career has been marked by his deep engagement with the Black American improvised music tradition as much as by his fearlessly open-minded embrace of the contemporary sounds of the global diaspora and his keen gaze towards the future. His latest release AfroFuturism (his fifth solo album) synthesises all those elements together into a stunningly audacious statement that is epic in its scope while providing a deep, intimately personal view into its creator’s inner life. The core of the album is a series of towering alt-rock/trap/wonky beat soundscapes created Logan’s extensive range of keyboards, synthesizers and programming along with the latest iteration of his Blues People band - Igor Osypov on guitar and Peter Schlamb on vibes and keys, with Dominique Sanders on bass and sharing production duties, and the thunderously virtuosic drumming of Ryan J. Lee and Corey Fonville rounding out the rhythm team.
Logan intersperses these with an array of diverse sonic interludes, scraps of found audio, unexpected, limpid pools of introspective strings performed by Ezgi Karakus and quiet glades of hushed balladry from long-time collaborator, vocalist Laura Taglialatela. Over all, his unmistakable keening voice on alto sax provides the constant narrative thread. “I was trying to get back deeper to the core of my artistic voice: using fresh production processes to mix in my interconnected influences and all the sounds I hear, while trying to find a sense of roots.”
The album starts with the voice of Stefon Harris introducing the epic ‘The Birth Of Us’ - a fully through-composed piece for the whole band -“Frank Zappa, Queen, Brian Wilson and Radiohead meets Schoenberg in a sci-fi 80s lounge,” laughs Logan. ‘Awaken’ (from a poem by Logan’s mother) and ‘Sunrays’ (with Laura Tagliatela and Corey Fonville) explore different voice and textual combinations to create enchanting oases of sound: "I was trying to tell a story - a bit about me, but then about us all." ‘For Alto’ is a nod to fellow altoist Anthony Braxton, while ‘Light’ is a ballad featuring Logan duetting with himself - "I’m addicted to ballads - they’re one of the most exposing things," he confesses. ‘Trap’ is just that - Logan’s interpretation of the contemporary Southern-US sound.
In response to a world struggling with disruption and discord, Tony Tixier has instinctively turned towards his music as a way to re-establish the sundered connections of everyday existence. I Am Human, his latest limited edition release, was created when he returned from a sell-out US tour to find himself locked down in his Paris apartment. An escape route appeared out of a happy combination of chances: a loan of a new piano from Yamaha and an encounter with a neighbour, David Freiss, who turned out to be an expert sound engineer. Tixier conceived a plan to spontaneously record a series of pieces, all in one take, and then send them out across the world to a chosen band of his closest musical accomplices - Scott Tixier, Hermon Mehari, Ben Leifer, Logan Richardson and Adrien Soleiman - musicians with whom he felt so closely in tune that the enforced separation of time and space could be overcome - and invited them to overdub a response to create a series of virtual duet recordings “Each track is dedicated to a friend, someone I feel close to - I sent them the track in the morning, and by the afternoon I had the track back with their parts.”
‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ features Scott Tixier, Tony’s brother and also his twin, playing violin on the tune made famous by Billie Holiday - the level of empathy is otherworldly. “As humans, we all need a special person to watch over us: for me, this is my twin brother, my best friend.” Each track is dedicated to a friend and selected to talk about a different aspect of human emotion: ‘But Beautiful’ was sent to trumpeter Hermon Mehari as the message in the song sat naturally with his optimistic personality, ‘Like Someone In Love’ went all the way to Kansas City and love-struck bassist Ben Leifer and ‘You Know I Care’ elicited a rare, deeply committed performance on tenor sax from Adrien Soleiman. Tony contacted his longtime bandmate Logan Richardson, recalling an original tune over a well-loved sequence that they used to play: ‘When They Happen’ is the spontaneous result, developing into a thrillingly free flowing outro – “Logan is always so creative - like a visionary! We’re all a bunch of crazy guys and we just played what we felt at that moment.”.
Zurich based musician Arthur Hnatek is one of a new breed of players who see their music as a continuum stretching between genres, always thinking in terms of links rather than boundaries, possibilities rather than limits.
His time spent playing drums with similarly adventurous and unclassifiable artists Tigran Hamasyan and Shai Maestro opened his ears to the possibilities of rhythmic variation: his immersion in electronic music production and the motorik tradition of Jaki Liebzeit alerted him the possibilities of repetition. Now, with Static, he presents his first trio record: joined by his equally fearless bandmates Fabien Iannone on bass and Francesco Geminiani on tenor sax, this is music created by a classic jazz line-up and steeped in improvisational facility, yet simultaneously utterly unlike anything in the standard jazz tradition.
The bulk of the album was written by Hnatek, paying close attention to the details and textures, and drawing a range of different sounds from the drum kit: ’I like the idea that you can have very complicated rhythms, but played in a repetitive way that sounds natural, and where the binaries of ‘written’ and ‘improvised’ aren’t too clear’. ‘Monotonous’ features the thick, punchy tones of Iannone’s bass, like mountain peaks rising through clouds of ambient electronics, as the kit clatters and Geminiani’s saxophone soars overhead. ’27’ marries plangent bass double-stops with synthesised textures and enigmatic saxophone statements from Geminiani - “He’s a great jazz player, and also a great software programmer and coder - he manipulates the electronics in real time - a rare combination!” - who also contributes the percussive, urgent composition ‘Brew’. ‘MIDI Sans Frontières’ is a ballad from an unusual source: written by Tom Jenkinson aka Squarepusher as a post-Brexit lament.
Building a bridge between jazz and experimental dance music, Brotherly were one of the most creative bands to emerge from Britain in the mid 2000s. Vocalist-pianist Anna Stubbs and multi-instrumentalist Rob Mullarkey studied jazz at the Leeds College of Music and Guildhall School of Music, and then became immersed in London’s club culture, particularly the broken beat scene that grew around nights such as Co-Op. Brotherly’s 2005 debut single ‘Put It Out’ reflected that influence, and in 2007 the duo released a full length album, 'One Sweet Life', followed in 2010 by 'Find First Light', and a collection of their standout tracks is now issued for the first time on limited edition vinyl (and CD/DL) as Analects.
It has one previously unreleased track, ‘The Code’, and three reworked tracks with new guests Donny McCaslin, Kaidi Tatham and Jason Rebello. The stellar cast list for the material written by Anna and Rob makes it clear that the duo has always had an interest in many rather than one school. Keyboardist Tatham and vocalist Eska were key fixtures in broken beat, pianist Rebello has been a major name in British jazz since the mid ‘80s, rapper Ty, who smartly sidestepped lyrical and musical cliché, was a fearless trailblazer of UK hip-hop, and McCaslin is a versatile, dynamic American saxophonist known for his work with Maria Schneider and David Bowie among others.
At the heart of Analects is Anna and Rob’s fine compositions and production. The vocabulary they developed had all the intricacy one would expect of musicians with a background in improvisation, but they were still mindful of how a song could be transformed by the kind of outré sequencing, engineering and mixing that had raised the temperature at clubs.
Brotherly created musically ambitious work that was also relevant to the club culture of the day, acknowledging the advent of many producer-driven movements from which improvising artists could learn. ‘System’, with its bulldozing bassline, sprightly theme and ethereal flute, brilliantly sets out their stall while the combination of an African-slanted 6/8 pulse and Kaidi Tatham’s piping keys make ‘Raindown’ compellingly hypnotic. Jason Rebello’s graceful acoustic piano brings a light-as-a-feather sensitivity to ‘World In A World’ while the heavy duty funky strut of ‘Skin Deep’ is a teasing backdrop for commentary on vain superficiality, a topical piece in a selfie-obsessed society.
Then again Anna’s telling lyrics on ‘Searching’ (I’m looking for something else/Trying to transcend myself) or ‘The Code’ (He’s the world’s biggest story/The story of matriarchal glory/She bore him a child/This child she had to hide) are borne of a willingness of address subjects as varied as the search for individuality and the cryptic, mind bending backstory of The Da Vinci Code. ‘One Sweet Life’, with its heartbeat-like riff and pithy refrain (To do your thing/to sink or swim) has taken on great poignancy given the recent passing of featured guest Ty, and the sense of general vulnerability created by the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. This new meaning underlines the fact that Brotherly’s music now stands as an invaluable glue between a past of a more carefree state of mind and a present of universal angst. All the more reason to celebrate the second coming of a band and their music that has fully stood the test of time.
Kevin Le Gendre (author of Don’t Stop The Carnival: Black Music In Britain Volume 1)
1. System 07:04
2. Put It Out (feat. ESKA) 05:49
3. Raindown (feat. Kaidi Tatham) 06:21
4. World In A World (feat. Jason Rebello)
5. Requiem 05:32
6. Skin Deep 04:15
7. Hiding Behind Your Lies 03:26
8. Spin Down 04:43
9. Shame 03:26
10. Searching 07:14
11. A Little Trouble 07:37
12. Breather 02:23
13. The Code 05:47
14. Navigator 04:12
15. DTs (feat. Donny McCaslin) 06:26
16. One Sweet Life (feat. Ty) 02:37
Anna Stubbs - vocals
Rob Mullarkey - beats, bass, guitars, rhodes, synths, vocals, percussion
Ty - vocals
Eska Mtungwasi - vocals
Ohio native Jeff Williams cut his teeth playing with the likes of Stan Getz and Dave Liebman in the febrile atmosphere of 1970s New York, but London is now his second home and his free-ranging creativity both as drummer and as composer, coupled with his dedication as a teacher and bearer of the tradition, has embedded him deep into the UK scene.
This recording features an all-star cast of his longtime collaborators, with altoist John O’Gallagher and Josh Arcoleo on tenor making a ferocious twin-horn frontline and virtuoso bassist Sam Lasserson completing the rhythm section. With all the compelling immediacy of a live concert recording, 'Road Tales' documents how the shared experiences of being a band on the road for a decade or so has shaped a musical narrative, as each member tells the story of those experiences, and shows how they established their own identity within the compositions.
“Some of thesees go back many years, but I think what’s special here is the way that band works together, adding things that aren’t on the paper. So many things were completely unplanned - it’s pure interaction, the sound of a band taking risks together.”
Williams’ compositions give his band a wonderfully diverse span of moods and colours to work with, and they rise to each occasion magnificently. ‘New And Old’ written to mark his father’s passing, is pitched halfway between elegy and nursery rhyme, while ‘The Interloper’ has a Monkish feeling to its quirkily phrased melody and ‘Borderline’ has a carefree major-key uplift, like a free- wheeling calypso or Mexican hat dance. ‘Oddity’ has switchback tempo changes with a burning solo from O’Gallagher, and ‘She Can’t Be A Spy’ spins a tale of mystery with Arcoleo quoting Shorter over a classic Blue Note lope. ‘Under The Radar’, ‘Search Me’ and ‘Scrunge’ run together to form what Williams laughingly refers to as ‘the airport security suite’, moving from a spacious airy feel into a twisted funk that builds into an exhilarating rollercoaster ride of uptempo blowing that’s at once free and deeply melodic.
Bassist Lasserson shows his deep musicality on ‘She Can’t Be A Spy’ – “Sam is quite a unique player - to me he’s on a very high level as a musician - he’s so inventive and his ability to take a composition and find so many ways to play it is incredible.”
'Road Tales', his sixth release for Whirlwind, marks the latest stage on a continuous musical journey for Williams and his musical partners. “I love to have a band that is able to take chances – It’s wonderful the way this group can develop my compositions, with their ability to take things as far as possible without going over the cliff. There aren't many actual on-going bands in jazz anymore. The fact that this is one is something I'm proud of. That's the only way a performance of this type becomes possible.”
1. New and Old 13:37
2. The Interloper 06:28
3. Borderline 08:53
4. Oddity 06:46
5. Under the Radar 04:48
6. Scrunge 04:31
7. Search Me 02:53
8. She Can't Be a Spy 06:45
9. Double Life 08:09
Jeff Williams - drums
John O'Gallagher - alto saxophone
Josh Arcoleo - tenor saxophone
Sam Lasserson - double bass
Trio Grande is the debut statement from a brand new project that unites three of the most inventive, exciting and accomplished musicians working at the interface of New York’s contemporary musical culture, where the city’s rich tradition of jazz meets crosscurrents blowing in from across the world. British-born saxophonist Will Vinson, Israeli guitarist Gilad Hekselman and Mexico City native, longtime Jackson Heights, Queens resident Antonio Sánchez first came together at one of the city’s legendary club residencies at the Cornelia Street Café, and the chemistry and excitement was immediate. Each brings their own formidable reputation as bandleader and composer in their own right, but when they started playing together, following their impulses with all the freedom afforded by the bassless trio format, they found the music taking on its own creative directions that surprised and delighted them all.
Says Vinson: ‘We’re all grounded in jazz but all of us are also looking for other sounds and influences to bring in: that’s what we have in common, and what sets us apart is that all our sounds and influences are so different!’. The album’s magic lies in the way that so many disparate musical elements are woven together to create such a coherent whole. ‘Northbound’, driven along by its powerfully insistent low-end guitar riff, and ‘Gocta’, with its array of vast, epic soundscapes, were written by Sanchez and reflect his virtuosity and ability to deliver the power and excitement of rock music within a sophisticated musical framework. The uplifting, joyously dancing ‘Elli Yeled Tov’, with its echoes of carnival, reflects Hekselman’s love of song forms, whether pop or folk derived, and showcases the way that he can incorporate the most complex rhythmic ideas and make them sound simple and direct.
Over the course of eighteen years living in New York City, Patrick Cornelius has earned a substantial reputation as a saxophonist, composer, solo artist and educator, and created an impressive body of work comprised of nine albums as a leader, featuring some of the finest musicians from the global jazz and improvised music scene. Now for his latest release Way of the Cairns he reunites a ‘TransAtlantic Collective’ of like-minded musicians for a brand new project of original compositions. Fourteen years ago, Cornelius and bassist (and Whirlwind label boss) Michael Janisch teamed up with Luxembourgish drummer Paul Wiltgen and virtuoso Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu for a tour that turned into a band that turned into a recording project that delivered, in Cornelius’ own words, “some of the best musical experiences I’ve ever had”.
This new music takes inspiration from his experiences of hiking with his growing family among the untamed wilderness of Maine’s Acadia National Park. The band delivers an outstanding set of first and second-take performances that combine the heat of New York’s jazz scene with the depth and subtlety of the European jazz tradition to create a set of recordings that are accessible and melodic, but as powerful and compelling as the landscapes that inspired them.
Rick Simpson’s impeccable technique and restless imagination have earned him a place at the forefront of contemporary UK music. He’s equally at home exploring the tradition or pushing fearlessly against the boundaries, and now his unique creative voice is back in the spotlight with a typically idiosyncratic project: a re-framing of Radiohead’s Kid A album, featuring ten original arrangements of the source material played by an all-star band of like-minded musical mavericks.
Whirlwind recording artist Tori Freestone joins James Allsop to form the twin-saxophone frontline, and Simpson is joined in the rhythm section by by the universally respected veteran Dave Whitford on bass and upcoming young hotshot Will Glaser on drums.
The project was created to mark the 20th anniversary of the original album’s release, as part of a series of sell-out shows curated by Simpson at London’s Vortex club featuring non-jazz records rearranged with an improvisational focus. The original show was such a success, drawing in listeners from beyond the club’s regular audience, that Simpson re-assembled the band in the studio and recorded the entire album in a single afternoon session “I think the time pressure contributed to the performances. It’s really punchy and to the point, but a lot happens – it captures the energy so well”. There’s a wealth of detail to discover, and surprises at every turn.
Josephine Davies continues to assert her unique presence across the crowded landscape of international jazz with the latest release from the acclaimed trio project that she has been developing since 2016 under the name of Satori. This latest iteration reunites her with two of the UK’s most uncategorisable talents: both Dave Whitford on bass and James Maddren on drums combine a fearsome level of accomplishment with a fearless appetite for improvisation that makes them the perfect partners in this venture.
"Outstanding” is an overused description but one that’s applied to bassist Orlando le Fleming so consistently that its justification can’t be denied. Since relocating from his native UK to New York City he’s thrived in the world’s toughest jazz environment, and brought his inimitable personality to work on projects for the likes of Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Charlap, Billy Cobham, Wayne Krantz, Ari Hoenig, Seamus Blake, Jeff “Tain” Watts and David Sanchez among many others.
“As a leader he shines even brighter - his drumless OWL Trio in particular gained plaudits across the board for its hushed, intimate atmosphere. Now he’s back with a completely different conception: his latest release Romantic Funk: The Unfamiliar introduces us to a new sound, a tribute to the muscular, high-intensity fusion of the 1980s, and a new band, Romantic Funk. Le Fleming has assembled an awesome team of top flight players: with Philip Dizack on trumpet and Will Vinson on sax in the frontline, Sean Wayland on keys and drummers Kush Abadey and Nate Wood rounding out the powerhouse rhythm section. All the compositions are by le Fleming, developed over time at the band’s extended residency in Greenwich Village’s 55 Bar, and captured live in the studio.
The power and precision of the performances astonishes throughout. Says le Fleming: “In under two days in the studio, this album was all played live, with very few edits and overdubs. The musicians are of such high quality that the risk taking paid off; for me, the inexpressible magic of the group and moment in time was captured."
Le Fleming’s tunes showcase his band’s individual excellence and group cohesion. ‘I’ll Tell You What It Is Later’ is influenced by the Miles Davis albums of the 80’s and late 60’s. It uses a simple form with minimal chords and open unrestricted solo section, giving Philip Dizack space to shine. “Phil is a very intuitive, musical player. His choices always seem to make so much sense.” ‘Waynes’ is inspired by le Fleming’s two favourite Waynes - Shorter and Krantz alternating excitingly between tension and release. Lauded multi-instrumentalist Nate Wood’s drums drive the triplet-laden groove of ‘The Myth of Progress’ and return to thrilling effect on ‘FOMO Blues’ - “Nate’s pocket and language are exceptional, but it’s his all round musicality which isso impressive.”
Rez Abbasi has established an enviable reputation over the course of his fourteen album releases as leader: not simply as one of the finest guitarists of his generation, but also as a musical alchemist with the ability to parlay his continent-crossing range of influences into consistently fresh and innovative compositions and reframings of the tradition. His deep musicality has been applied with equal conviction to contemporary New York acoustic jazz, the Qawwali and Indian Classical traditions of South Asia and the heady fusion sounds of the 1970s, each time applying the filter of his own musical personality to deliver inimitable results. Commissioned to present a project on Django Reinhardt from the Freight & Salvage’s Django Festival in California, he boldly redefined his engagement by turning the focus away from Django, the codifier of the Sinti guitar vocabulary, and onto Django, the composer.
For Django-shift Abbasi keenly listened to Django’s full catalogue of music before choosing seven of his original pieces and two classic tunes that Django was greatly associated with. The arrangements were soon created for a contemporary trio format, with Neil Alexander on organ and electronics and Michael Sarin on drums. The results give a fascinating and original insight into an often overlooked attribute of Django’s genius.
Abbasi has kept Djangos’ melodies intact and then infused each piece with his own compositional voice, adding elements of metric and harmonic expansion and allowing his collaborators room to add their own personalities to the mix. “Neil tells a story when he improvises – he has a storehouse of musical knowledge but never just plays licks, which has always been central in my own approach to improvising. I’ve been playing with Michael for 25 years and he remains one of my favourite drummers. Both are very creative in how they sustain yet depart from various musical traditions, which is what it’s all about for me. I live that!”
Saxophonist and composer Quinsin Nachoff’s career to date has delivered a boundary-crossing body of work that’s consistently unpredictable, fearlessly innovative, breathtakingly accomplished, and full of creative passion, constantly increasing its scope to encompass ever greater horizons. His new album Pivotal Arc presents his most ambitious project yet: bringing together virtuoso violin soloist Nathalie Bonin with a jazz-inflected unit comprising two established giants of the NY scene, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Satoshi Takeishi, and the stunning young vibraphone player Michael Davidson, and adding a wind and string ensemble conducted by JC Sanford for a concerto that boldly mixes written and improvised sections. A contemporary string quartet performed by the renowned Molinari String Quartet and the extended title piece round out the album.
The result is three diverse long-form works that flow naturally together, demonstrating Nachoff’s equally heartfelt facility with the free-flowing language of jazz improvisation, the depth and rigour of classical composition and the direct melodicism of folk forms.
The three-part violin concerto is built around Nachoff’s long-standing creative partnership with Nathalie Bonin and showcases her extraordinary range and versatility. “Nathalie’s drive is very intense, her musical interests are really diverse, and she dives into whatever challenge and works at it until she masters it!”
The first movement is an imaginary deconstructed and reconstructed Tango that sets the tone, intensity and sound palette for the entire work. After the improvised violin solo, the orchestra ferociously returns with nearly a concerto for orchestra section that gradually winds down to a dream-like cadenza, setting up the second movement. “I love Astor Piazolla and I’d heard Nathalie improvise brilliantly in that setting - Stravinsky also looms large and Weill and Ligeti were very inspiring as well, but the tango was the main focus, twisted and deconstructed in different ways”
The second movement is a haunting ballad that sweeps through several tonal landscapes “Where Berg meets Ellington!”.
Michael Olatuja’s musical development has taken place across three continents, in the heart of three of the world’s greatest cities. After a childhood in Lagos absorbing the Yoruba culture of his Nigerian family, followed by teenage years performing and studying on the booming London jazz scene, Michael’s talent bloomed when he arrived in New York to study at the Manhattan School of Music. His unique breadth of talent, grounded in the strong musical traditions of his homeland, has earned him first-call status across a range of genres from pop to gospel to Broadway to top-flight jazz, and along the way he’s filled his contacts book with a impressive and eclectic range of talent.
For 'Lagos Pepper Soup', his second solo release, Michael picked a core band of Terreon Gully, Aaron Parks and Etienne Stadwijk, and then enlisted the talents of Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Regina Carter, Joe Lovano, Laura Mvula, Lionel Loueke, Grégoire Maret, Becca Stevens, Brandee Younger, Robert Mitchell, Onaje Jefferson, and top studio arrangers David Metzger, Joseph Joubert and Jason Michael Webb to realise his vision of what he calls Cinematic Afrobeat - “What you hear is a blend of three major cities: it’s a celebration of life, and I wanted to make it sound like a soundtrack for a movie that hasn’t been made yet - maybe the next Black Panther movie.”
The title track is a summary of what it’s about - the band lay down a cooking intercontinental groove over which Angelique Kidjo delivers a stunning vocal performance: “All these guests are people I’ve worked with, who inspire me and who I consider friends. Angelique has been one of my heroes for many years and working with her was a dream come true. She blew it out the water.”
‘Hero’s Journey’ is the most cinematic track of the album, a through-composed piece inspired by his late Mother Comfort Bola Olatuja, who provided Michael’s first musical inspiration. Top Disney orchestrator David Metzger (Frozen, Ice Age, Lion King and countless others) provided the epic orchestrations and Regina Carter’s improvisation soars over the strings and vocals. ‘Soki’, meaning ‘Soon’ is a Pan-African mix of influences from Mali, Senegal and Nigeria and features Dianne Reeves singing in Yoruba “Man, She did her homework! She put her heart and soul into it.”
Brandee Younger contributes harp to the acoustic textures of ‘Ma Foya’ - “She’s NYC’s premier harp player! We get along like a house on fire - she joked about being left off my album so I got her in and the results were magical.” ‘Brighter Day’ reunites Michael with Laura Mvula and his old London buddy Troy Miller, who he played with in Soweto Kinch’s band, for a typically heartfelt, idiosyncratic piece of pop music.
UK pianist Robert Mitchell was one of Michael’s mentors when he was a 16-year old budding professional. Becca Stevens is the perfect interpreter for the complex sophistication of his composition ‘Home True’. Bola Olatuja is Michael’s mother and ‘Bola’s Song’ is his tribute to her, with Grégoire Maret’s harmonica tracing the melody as the song moves from minor to major in Joubert’s lush arrangement.
‘Leye’s Dance’ is based on the Fuji style from Lagos: Joe Lovano recalls his time playing and hanging with Fela Kuti at The Shrine in this inspired Afrojazz blend. 'Shadows Fade’ is a ballad beautifully sung by Onaje Jefferson - “It’s about being where you need when going through difficult seasons.”
Lionel Loueke contributes the joyous ‘Mivakpola’ “He’s like a big brother to me. We like to have Lagos pepper soup together whenever he’s in town.” ‘Grace’ is an expression of Michael’s faith, but written without lyrics. “All the guests poured their heart and soul into this album, as though it were their own. I feel that grace has been shown to me throughout.”
Michael has integrated all of his diverse musical influences, incorporating his guests’ talents while allowing his own personality to clearly shape the overall direction. His own virtuoso melodic bass playing shines throughout - “I wanted Lagos Pepper Soup to feature my own playing, as well as songwriting and production - all my influences are here, all my favourite musicians, and I feel there’s an element of divine favour in how amazingly it’s turned out."
1. Even Now Prayer 01:00
2. Lagos Pepper Soup (ft. Angelique Kidjo & Lionel Loueke) 04:43 video
3. The Hero’s Journey (feat. Regina Carter) 08:42
4. Soki (feat. Dianne Reeves & Lionel Loueke) 04:27
5. Ma Foya (feat. Brandee Younger) 03:23
6. Brighter Day (feat. Laura Mvula) 05:58
7. Shadows Fade (feat. Onaje Jefferson) 06:32
8. Home True (feat. Becca Stevens & Robert Mitchell) 06:28
9. Bola’s Song (feat. Grégoire Maret) 04:16
10. Mivakpola (feat. Lionel Loueke) 04:22
11. Leye’s Dance (feat. Joe Lovano) 07:07
12. Grace 05:51
Michael Olatuja - producer, arranger, composer (except 8,10), electric bass, synth bass (1), percussion (5)
Aaron Parks - piano (2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12)
Etienne Stadwijk - keyboards (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11)
Terreon Gully - drums (except 5, 6)
Troy Miller - drums (6)
Magatte Sow - Percussion (2,3, 4, 6, 9,11)
Femi Temowo - guitar (6)
Herve Sambe - guitar (11)
Michael Aarons - guitar (12)
Camille Thurman - voice (9,12)
Thana Alexa - voice (3)
Ayanna George - backing vocals (2,3,4)
Cassondra James - backing vocals (2,3,4)
Rasul A-Salaam - backing vocals (2,3,4)
Samir Zarif - Tenor and soprano saxophone (8,10,12)
Alicia Olatuja - Vocal Arrangement (4)
'Lagos Pepper Soup' String Orchestra (3,4,6,7, 9)
Joseph Joubert - Orchestra Conductor (3,4,6,7, 9)
and Orchestration (6 & 7)
David Metzger - Orchestration (2)
Jason Michael Webb - Orchestration (4)
Jon Cowherd - Orchestration (9)
Angelique Kidjo - voice (2)
Dianne Reeves - voice (4)
Laura Mvula - voice (6)
Becca Stevens - voice (8)
Regina Carter - violin (3)
Lionel Loueke - guitar (2, 4, 10)
Joe Lovano - sax (11)
Robert Mitchell - piano (8)
Onaje Jefferson - voice (7)
Brandee Younger - harp (5)
Grégoire Maret - harmonica (9)